The SSD Drive That Wasn’t

I don’t often tell others when I tear down some electronic device or other, it’s just something I do because I’m curious, but this one has me angry.

My wife bought a couple of cheap 2TB “SSD Drives” from eBay — yes, I know — which, after some shenanigans by the seller over the size of the devices, she tried out. One made it into use, the other she handed to me with a despairing sigh.

After proving to myself it was never going to work, I did what all good geeks do: I cracked it open. Gotta have a hobby, right? What I found really gets on my goat.

The case, a simple extruded aluminium unit with a plastic carrier, is OK. A little larger than a credit card and about 8mm thick, anodised red. The only identification on it is “Portable SSD” and “Mobile Storage”.

The case
The case is pretty …

Inside, hot-glued into the carrier is a single PC board, obviously made for something else, that has a 16-pin SM chip, a 12 MHz crystal, the usual collections of SM capacitors and resistors, a single USB-C port, and a single USB-A port. The USB-C port is the connection to the computer. The PC board is well made with (I think) three layers and good through-plating. Three positions for USB-A ports remain vacant. The board’s ID is D-HUB4-8T-21-09-15; it appears to be a very similar design to that used in the D-Link DUB-H4 4-port USB hub.

PC board in situ
Board in situ, hot glue removed

The chip is from CoreChips ShenZhen, marked SL2.1A, USB 2.0 HUB, TT0923A21. Info: http://www.corechip-sz.com/productsview.asp?id=48

Integrated circuit
SL2.1A, USB 2.0 HUB, TT0923A21

The board is obviously from a 4-port USB 2 hub, repurposed. I mean, it’s plastered all over it, right?

Now we come to the “SSD” part of the name. Spoiler alert: it’s not an SSD. It’s a simple Flash RAM chip.

Plugged into the lone USB-A port is essentially a bare-bones thumb drive; a memory chip package, designed to be plugged directly into a USB port, clipped into a USB-A metal shell. The chip is stamped with XYITE9T23 2203-64GS – I can find no mention of this package on the Internet.

Flash RAM USB package
The so-called “SSD”
Flash RAM chip, reverse
XYITE9T23 2203-64GS Reverse (It’s not blue, it’s black. Lousy phone camera)
Flash RAM chip, obverse
XYITE9T23 2203-64GS Obverse

The reason why I inherited the damaged unit is that, during a deep format that had only reached 2% complete after an hour, it failed; the interface still operates but the chip has given up the ghost. The likely cause is overheating as there is no airflow in the case and no heat dissipation allowed for – the chip is physically isolated.

The unit that my wife started using and promptly filled with files? It’s now being taken back out of service, carefully.

An update: After removing the files, with lots of breaks to let the chip cool down, the “SSD” has just failed.

This unit and all like it, sold by lots of people on eBay, are complete junk.

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